25 October 2015
New Airlines' Regional Cutbacks - A Comment
There have been three bits of bad news regarding regional airlines posted on this blog this week. On the 20th of October on this blog a post was published questioning the future of Barrier Air's service to Kaitaia. On the 21st of October Kiwi Regional talked about their disappointment of numbers on their Dunedin-Queenstown service. Also on the 21st of October there was a post on reduction of services by North Shore Air. In a way none were a surprise to me
Barrier Air's Kaitaia service has been operated up till now by Piper Chieftains. The service started immediately after Air New Zealand pulled out though initially it operated under the Great Barrier Airlines Banner. Three weekday flights were scheduled at first with an ultra early 5.55am departure from Auckland to Kaitaia. In more recent weeks the frequency has been dropped to two flights a week. My first comment would be GBA/Barrier Air got it wrong basing their aircraft in Auckland. No one wants to fly from Auckland at 5.55am. I mean who wants to arrive at Kaitaia at 7.00am for a 9 or 10.00am meeting. Barrier Air finally twigged on to that, overnighted their plane but dropped their frequency to two flights a weekday and changed the timetable with the second flight from Kaitaia leaving at 2.00pm... far to early for day return business traffic. My suggestion to Barrier Air is early morning KAT-AKL-KAT and the same LATE afternoon as Sounds Air did with Westport and Air Chathams did. It also took some months for Barrier Air to align their baggage allowance to Air NZ's for when people want to connect with Air NZ or Jetstar at Auckland.
Kiwi Regional were surprised with the lack of bookings on their Dunedin-Queenstown run. Really? One just needs to read the airlines on this blog that tried to run DUD-ALR-ZQN (see http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.co.nz/2011/03/air-services-through-alexandra-index-of.html). It has never worked. The big issue for day return traffic from Queenstown to Dunedin (in particular) is the airport is miles away from the city. It costs a fortune to get to the city for a days business. Unless Kiwi Regional offer cheap transport to and from the city this service will never be a winner in my opinion. Personally I think there are other routes Kiwi Regional should have looked at. Nonetheless all the best to Kiwi Regional. I hope to fly them soon. I tried to tie a trip on them to connect with Originair but sadly the the latter weren't operating that day.
Finally, North Shore Air. This I think is the most innovative on airlines featured in this blog post. Their is so much potential in their North Shore to Tauranga service... not sure about North Shore to Kerikeri in the middle of the day. My thoughts with them is they had too short a lead time in to the start of the services. I look forward to them building the traffic on their run. While they have reduced the schedule their new timetable is right and should suit business travellers.
Posted by Steve L at 6:02 AM